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Main Street monument commemorates transcontinental telegraph line

Main Street monument commemorates transcontinental telegraph line

By Jared Page | Posted - Oct. 30, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Amid a Main Street makeover designed to attract shoppers from throughout the region, a stone pillar marks the technological connection between the East and West coasts.

The monument commemorating the connecting of the transcontinental telegraph line, was rededicated Monday — 150 years after the lines were spliced, completing the "lightning road."

The monument, which was uprooted during construction of City Creek Center, has returned to its former location at 63 S. Main — not far from where the telegraph office once faced the street.

"The transcontinental telegraph tied together communication in the nation for the first time," said Clive Romney, executive director of Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts and a member of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.


As soon as the transcontinental telegraph line was joined, it went from that to seconds. It was a huge leap forward.

–- Clive Romney


Prior to Oct. 24, 1861, the fastest way to get a message from one coast to the other was through the Pony Express — a process that took nearly two weeks, Romney said.

"As soon as the transcontinental telegraph line was joined, it went from that to seconds," he said. "It was a huge leap forward."

Brigham Young sent the first messages from Salt Lake City using the transcontinental telegraph line, which was made possible by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hundreds of Mormons worked to set up 500 miles of poles — 25 poles per mile — to connect existing lines.

"What a tremendous physical effort that constituted, and we're grateful for that," said Richard Christiansen, president-elect of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. "It modernized the world, and we're receiving the benefits of that now in our own lives."

Email:jpage@ksl.com

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Jared Page

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